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Bees

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Bees

Postby nicholasetew » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:57 pm

Hello everyone, I'm trying to get my head round haplodiploidity in (honey) bees and I think I pretty much get it.

I'm just a little confused about one thing. It appears common knowledge that worker bees share 75% of their genes with each other. This makes sense if they have the same father (as they will each get exactly the same 50% of their genes from their haploid father). However, when a queen goes on a mating flight (usually 1 or 2 in the first few days after she becomes queen) she mates with around 10-20 drones from other hives at 'drone congregation areas'. She does this to maintain genetic diversity as she stores the sperm to use all her life. So here's the question:

If around 5 to 10 percent of her sperm is from the same drone then surely only 5 to 10 percent of workers in the hive will be related to each other by 75% (same dad, same mum) and the other 90 to 95 percent only by 25% (same mum, different dad)??? This would give an average relatedness of workers of about 28 to 30 percent.

Is this utterly wrong, and if so why?

Any answers would be GREATLY appreciated.
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Postby Cat » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:38 pm

No, you are wrong.

Please, read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplodiploidy
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Postby nicholasetew » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:07 am

Not hugely helpful, I've already read that page and on it it says:

Thus, if a queen bee mates with only one drone, any two of her daughters will share, on average, 3/4 of their genes.

And on this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_bee# ... tion_cycle
It says:

The surviving virgin queen will fly out on a sunny, warm day to a "drone congregation area" where she will mate with 12-15 drones. If the weather holds, she may return to the drone congregation area for several days until she is fully mated. Mating occurs in flight. The young queen stores up to 6 million sperm from multiple drones in her spermatheca. She will selectively release sperm for the remaining 2–7 years of her life.

This hardly seems to disprove the hypothesis.

Perhaps the key points might be 'selectively release sperm' (implying maybe from one male - but if so why mate with 12-15) or perhaps the drones might be brothers?
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Postby Cat » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:23 pm

You are missing the point.

1. Females are diploid.
2. Males are haploid.
3. Males carry 1/2 of mother's genome AFTER it recombines and, thus, NOT the same.
4. Workers that share 75% of their genome identity are females. 50% comes from mother and about 25% comes from GRANDMOTHER through father...
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